Hellboy (Vol 2): Wake the Devil by Mike Mignola

Hellboy (Vol. 2): Wake the Devil by Mike Mignola (writer and artist) and James Sinclair (artist)

In this second Hellboy volume, Wake the Devil, Mignola goes big by revealing more of Hellboy’s destiny. Hellboy confronts a ghostly but still powerful Rasputin (the key figure in volume one who brought Hellboy to Earth). Rasputin also confronts Abe Sapien, whose life is particularly at risk since he killed Rasputin in volume one. But before Rasputin makes his appearance to Hellboy and crew, they go on a hunt for a vampire thought to be killed by Hitler.

The vampire was a key figure for the Nazis before Hitler decided to do away with him at the end of the war. In fact, the vampire, Giurescu, was originally recruited in 1944 by Rasputin’s right-hand woman, Ilsa Haupstein. This was a part of what was to be called project Vampir Sturm.In the present, still angry over his rumored death, Ilsa tracks down Giurescu’s body and plans to resurrect it. Hellboy, Abe, and Liz go out on a search for the missing vampire. They, of course, find him, and must confront a dangerous Giurescu, who has been given life once again. In Castle Giurescu, Hellboy will wage a battle that will eventually lead to his having to make a choice about what role he will play in the larger plans laid out by Rasputin.

The book bounces back and forth between mythological references and fighting action scenes. Mignola strikes just the right balance in my opinion. There are so many characters and creatures that make brief appearances that if I went into detail, I would end up writing a confusing review. How Mignola manages to keep his comic from becoming confusing is part of his genius. I certainly cannot repeat it here! Do yourself a favor and pick up this second volume right after finishing volume one (which is also a five-star book in this reviewer’s opinion).